Influencer marketing cuts through noise and drives sales for brands

Across the hyper-competitive retail climate, brands constantly look for ways to drive sales. Influencer marketing could be a key tactic to gain that competitive edge.

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For some brands, influencer marketing is a method that has seemingly come out of nowhere and is now considered by many brands to be an established and effective tactic, especially for brands who are trying to target millennials in their campaigns. This type of marketing is expected to grow significantly as the millennial market matures.

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Social influencers increasingly have greater impact on consumer brand awareness and purchase considerations.

Over 31 percent of consumers across the US and Europe said they have purchased a product or service based on a social influencer post, according to Olapic's Psychology of Following study.

It polled 4,000 active social media consumers ages 16-61, across the US, UK, France, and Germany.

It wanted to understand the psychology behind why consumers follow, listen to and trust social media influencers, and how they act on those recommendations.

Influencer marketing is not just a mechanism intended only for larger brands. There is growing evidence that on-the-up companies and start-ups can also get traction from working with influencers.

In January, a Kickstarter campaign launched by Somnos, the start-up behind a range of therapeutic weighted comforters, smashed its initial funding target of €20,000 in 12 hours.

Over 42 per cent of backers invested as a direct result of influencer marketing according to Instagram influencer marketing platform Takumi.

Influencers are generally defined as social users with over 10,000 followers. They are engaged by brands to help promote their products and services, and are not necessarily 'famous' in the way that we view celebrities.

They tend to share more information, through high quality, image-rich posts, and video content. They are constantly looking for the next piece of scroll-stopping content, and have become the new celebrities.

A recent survey of over 500 people by Open Influence shows that 60.5 percent of people reported that social media was their primary source of information before purchasing a product.

Moreover, 79 percent of respondents said they trust product recommendations from people they follow on social media.

Images and video content tend to be the most preferred types of influencer content while Facebook, Instagram and YouTube were the most favoured platforms for following influencers.

Although the way we define social consumers may vary from person to person, brands are now starting to recognise the reach of social influencers to drive engagement and retail sales.

Of the brands that used influencer marketing during 2017, 92 percent found it to be effective. According to Linqia's report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2017, half of respondents said that influencer content outperformed brand-created content.

The upswing in adoption of influencer marketing indicates that the channel is starting to become an important part of the marketing mix and is not a passing marketing fad. Influencer content is starting to have impact across channels as the industry matures.

Influencers -- and celebrities -- know that if they partner with brands for social posts, consumers perceive them in a more positive way.

To ride this wave, marketers should plan to use influencer content to improve the performance of their digital channels in 2018, and plan to integrate influencer content with e-commerce to drive product sales. And more brands should consider adding influencer marketing to their marketing mix to ensure success.

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